UNITED STATES: Teenager sentenced to 11 years in prison for Islamic State Twitter support

[1 September 2015] - A US teenager was sentenced to 11 years and four months in prison on Friday for using Twitter to support Islamic State (IS), becoming the first minor to be prosecuted by the United States in such a case.

Ali Shukri Amin, 17, who lived an hour from Washington DC, will be subject to a lifetime of supervised release and monitoring of his Internet activities.

The prolific Twitter user, who sent more than 7,000 messages on the site in support of the IS group, pleaded guilty in June.

Under the Twitter handle @Amreekiwitness, he provided IS supporters with instructions on using the virtual currency Bitcoin to conceal financial donations to the group and the best way to encrypt their online exchanges.

He also offered guidance to sympathisers seeking to travel to Syria to fight with the IS group, including another Virginia teen, Reza Niknejad, who traveled to Syria in January.

Niknejad, 18, was charged in June with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, conspiring to provide material support to the IS group and conspiring to kill and injure people abroad.

The prosecution had called on the judge to hand Amin the maximum sentence of 15 years, while his defence had argued for just six years.

The judge said he had taken into account Amin’s young age and lack of a criminal record during sentencing, the New York Times reported.

Nevertheless, the case is likely to draw attention to the trial of young people as adults in the US, where an estimated 250,000 youths are tried, sentenced, or incarcerated as adults every year.

Amin's lawyer, Joseph Flood, had described his client as a stellar student from a good family who was outraged by rights abuses under Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.

When Amin pleaded guilty, Flood said he was the first minor convicted in the United States of providing material aid to the IS group.


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